Zhen Dan Guo, 50, the owner of Eastern Supermarket at 335 Grand St., had to get four metal plates implanted in his jaw and cheekbone after he was attacked by one of four teens who stole drinks and other items from the store about 5:30 p.m. Friday, according to police and the victim's family.
Guo was rushed to New York Downtown Hospital, where he remained on Monday recovering from a series of operations, his family said.
Police were searching for four teens in connection with the attack, the NYPD said.
Guo confronted the teens after he saw them stuffing items into their pockets, including four AriZona iced teas, said Linbin Guo, 23, Zhen Dan Guo's son, who was not in the store during the incident.
Zhen Dan Guo ordered the teens to leave the store and grabbed a wooden stick to chase them out, his son said.
"If [the teenagers] come once and take whatever they want, they will think it is easy and come back again," Linbin Guo said, explaining why his father would confront the shoplifters.
Once he'd chased the teens outside, Zhen Dan Guo turned to reenter the store — but one of the teens hit Guo over the head, cracking his jawbone and left cheekbone, his son said.
"[Zhen Dan Guo] has diabetes so he will not heal fast," Linbin Guo said, adding that doctors say it will be three or four months before his father gets back to normal.
Linbin Guo said that recently the store, which sells everything from beer to household appliances, has seen an uptick in thefts, which he attributed to teen shoplifters.
"When they are in groups they are not afraid of anything," he said.